tv U.S.- North Korea Relations CSPAN May 29, 2018 2:05pm-3:10pm EDT
to get itgoing started, this is going to be just an hour. welcome, everyone. welcome to the stimson center. i'm the codirector of the program here and we are our four veryave interesting speakers here to chat with us a bit about what is beyond the trump kim summit. when i give that title, beyond trump kim summit, please imagine
the heart attack of me seeing , but sure enough, it now seems that the track seems to be back on. we are basically getting whiplash moments every day on this one. where the summit is going to be on, off, on, off. who knows what happens. in light of that, we are delighted to have our guests here. pastormally served on the committee expert panel. another from 38 north, which i now proud to say is a part of the family. betterr codirector, my half of the program is here as well. what i'm going to do is open the conversation with this four people by asking, briefly, for more of a dialogue rather than each of them giving 10 minutes
of presentation each. i want to be fluid and get moving. let me start with you, frank, by asking -- can you walk us through, from your mind, if the trump kim summit happens in or, what is thgood outco? what is the good -- bad outcome question mark what is the really ugly outcome? frank: thank you for the question and for the invitation to be here. i will answer your question and a briefly set the scene by saying it is important to understand how we got here. we got here because of three strategic changes. the first, president moon jae-in being elected in south korea, reaching out to north korea as a number one agenda item as president. rip --y of last year to to may of this year, it's his top priority. he is known and trusted by the north erie the second big change, kim jong-un.
-- by the north. the second big change, kim jong-un on has consolidated his powers. he has elevated generals senior ranks that he trusts. consolidated a limited nuclear deterrent and is feeling much more confident today than he was even 12 months ago. the third big strategic changes trump and his maximum pressure campaign. and he deserves some credit for changing the dynamic on the peninsula. but unless we understand those previous strategic factors we are at risk of misunderstanding what is driving the whole process. as the distinct fellow at the mansfield thousand -- foundation said about the summit, there was a good bad outcome, a bad bad there is ad catastrophic outcome. the best we can hope for is what he calls the good bad outcome.
the good bad outcome is that the leaders sit down and agree to the basic principles. denuclearization, peace, hand-in-hand with some kind of a phased reciprocal plan of action. but the end goal will be clear. kim jong-un will promise denuclearization and president trump will promise peace and i think we will get that outcome. we will get the good bad outcome. why is it a bad outcome? because none of the details will be agreed on. what it necessarily means. for instance, south korea is a nuclear power country and if we are going to denuclearize the korean peninsula, do south korea have to up nuclear power? i don't think so. does that mean that north korea is entitled to nuclear power? if so, under what circumstances? the devil is in the details here and that's whether is a risk of a bad bad outcome that would be
making --y the smit breaking down and trump agreeing to maximum pressure and there is the risk of a catastrophic outcome, if the summit breaks down quickly, trump leaves and a half and launches a preemptive military strike against north korea a month later. aiming forshould be the good bad outcome, setting in motion a process that hopefully won't break down before november of this year. because it can't for political reasons. difficult a negotiation that will hopefully their fruit. thanks, frank.: looks like south korea will be heavily impacted. vision, how does this hold? could or could not with the power or standing within korea or not? well, firstusly --
of all, thanks for taking us in. we are the survivors. i would think that south korea has a lot at stake here. moon jae-in has invested a lot of personal capital as well. as frank said, this is one of his top agenda items, one of the first things he wanted to do at the summit, even before he was elected, it was very much a top priority. he's already had the inter-korean summit with all of that success, they got all the commitments they needed to move the process forward and he has been very successful in dragging the u.s. along and getting trump involved in the process, getting them talking directly. now the problem becomes that in this scheme of things, as much as they want to be in the drivers seat of the process, north korea doesn't necessarily see south korea as an equal partner.
now that the u.s. and china are involved, they have sort of marginalized south korea's influence in the process as well . a lot is really going to rise on forwarde relations move . moon sort of gets caught in the middle of that and i think there is another fear that if it doesn't work out well, there will be huge repercussions for moon jae-in and for his personal reputational capital. because he put so much into this, because he has invested so much money and resources on this as well, to the detriment of the domestic issues. that is when you start to see this as president trump suddenly canceled the singapore summit. you saw the opposition party, the president started to come out quickly and hard on moon jae-in, sort of accusing him of wasting time and resources. you will see more of this
throughout the process and the more hardline north korea gets towards south korea in the agenda, it still doesn't solve the domestic issues. the younger generation is really going to be pushing for it in terms of jobs and in terms of these political scandals that have been going on so far. before then the inter-korean summit will wear off. the novelty of kim and trump being good friends all of a sudden will wear off and when you get into the details and start the actual negotiations with how to implement these commitments, you are going to see a lot of criticism and opposition along the way that is not going to be easy for this administration to shoulder. thanks, jenny. a lot of media reports suggest that this is how it has been
portrayed. kim jong-un's rhetoric began to shift after he had a couple of meetings in beijing with xi jinping. how does china feel about this now? do they feel that the summit is back on track? where does the handstand? >> at this point china wants to see the escalation happen because it offers some hope for denuclearization. out,s has been pointed there will likely not be details. the two leaders could in principle agreed to denuclearization, but i think china will see that as a bad they are having speculations about what happened in his second vision to china, may 7 and may 8. south korea apparently changed their attitude one week later. the speculation is -- what did
the chinese tell him? what was put on the table that made the north koreans change their attitude? the chinese have a different interpretation of what happened. it definitely points to the leader model as referred to by john bolton as a key reason for the change of heart by the north koreans. i will stop there, thanks. finally, japan seems to be the outlier in all of this. about how japan feels marginalized. i think it was in yesterday's voices of america that the prime minister said they tried to have a face-to-face with president trump before the singapore summit. it is indeed happening. where do you think japan stands on this? are they really marginalized? or do they have a more quiet and invisible role in all of this?
>> he was the only person in the world who supported the trump decision to cancel the summit last week. i'm sure that it was a similar that -- that any decision trump abbe in the future, mr. will support. to be honest, japanese people and experts are concerned about president trump and understand the issues he was talking about. when mr. trump rejected the idea inthe so-called libya model front of mr. john bolton, it appeared to -- it appeared he was talking about bombing against libya. clear as toe criticize what the libya model is about.
other french experts are concerned about the oversimplification of the concept of the libya model. libya had been known to have acquired 22 52 and they had attempted to procure a huge number of parts and spare parts. at the end of the day they only undid that by completing a small cascade that consisted of nine centrifuges only. the country appears to have procured at least 10,000 centrifuges for their parts. the scales are totally different. this is only about highly enriched uranium programs. we have plutonium, arrange of
programs and we have no credible information but they have the capability. when we took the libya model, that reward comes after the so-called cbiz, complete, verifiable, irreversible disarmament. we were just talking about the scale of nine months, the intensive part of the libyan disarmament process took only , through the september of 2004. , i'me case of north korea not aware of any experts who are expecting to see their intensive parts of disarmament in less than five years taking over more than five years, maybe president
trump may not be there. how do you assure mr. kim jong-un that we are not going to reward you after all in this summit process? andsure that my successors the u.s. congress in the future will call to carry on this commitment. pill for mr. kim jong-un to swallow. one thing that people complete we forget about, i hear so many concerns about north korea's proposal being a step-by-step approach in creating this salami and that weque should be concerned about this. i understand that. but there is a significant difference about the situation in north korea today and 10
years ago. was wrapped korea literally in layers of sanctioned regimes. .nd other regimes we have so many sanction regimes surrounding north korea. now currently we only have the discussion about whether we do until the summit is completed or we give everything up after the total disarmament. quite the advantage that they didn't have 10 years ago. we have only been talking about two different options. if you are concerned about the salami's ice coming, we can do
this thing. we also have to ensure long-term monitoring to prevent north from using the capabilities they have already were hired. south africa, almost 20 years to satisfy that south korea is suddenly committed to nonproliferation. rack, u.s., george bush administration ran through a rack, the group consisted of
1400 experts supported by military and took less than two years only to prove that they existed in iraq. you have to be realistic about the scale that you're talking about when you talk about north korea. and also the long-term commitment that would be required for us. sanctions to lift all awe might expect to see revival of the recent play of a rack sanctions. we don't want to have -- i mean, iranian sanctions, the iranian nuclear deal, they complied with the deal. the trump administration is not
happy about the missile products and other activities with iran, theh were incorporating previous sanction regimes. but it started with the iranian nuclear deal. we have to have more long-term comprehensive perspective when we are talking about this. let's be pragmatic. that's a really good point. it's a rare to hear all of this complexity within the sanction regime that we just kind of categorically use. the time span that they are talking about, looks like any leader who technically is able to commit to such a long-term ,rocess is president xi jinping because he doesn't have to worry about election and given what happened in china last year, you know, my question to you is do
you think that president xi comfortabled be supporting such a complex denuclearization program that is long-term? even if it is step-by-step? ofking about the lifting sanctions as north korea does abc's through the d-? think that china is ready to support something comprehensive and long-term like that? when it comes to if it means that it will provide the stability needed, which i think you will agree is in chinese strategic interest? has the question is, china three proclaimed goals coming to nuclear issues.
peace, stability, denuclearization. goals, want these three they are led by south korea. it would bps fault. i think that the issue here for china is not just a technical issue about what it will look like. without the political agreements associated with denuclearization, as frank talked about, the peace regime or peace treaty or peace mechanism, what role would china play? mentioning either north korea, south korea, the united states, or a quadrilateral magnetism that includes china. for china, trilateral is not an option. washer lateral is the only option. any deal that excludes china will not be welcome or supported by beijing. the politics is key here.
in light of that, and given the complexity and long-term nature of the sanction, our president and the south korean president seem to have a shorter tenure in office. i guess for a lack of better word, do you think that both leaders, when they talk about this denuclearization of north korea, is this something that they are thinking they are heading into? something that is this complex, that takes this long a time, even then at the end of the road happened withhat the north korean program being more limited in scale. we thought that we got there in terms of dismantlement of that program or freeze of that program, if you will, but only about 10 years ago and then 10 years later it popped back up. there's always that point for south korea.
frank: -- jenny: i would speak for the u.s. side first. when americans think about this issue they think about it in very simplistic terms of combining -- buying off north korea, not wanting it to last long or putting a lot of effort into it, narrowing the north korean choices down to the point where they have no other choice but to deal with them if they want to survive sort of thing. this is completely the wrong approach. i'm thinking that this always happens, when we talk about either korea, a lot of times we couch it in big power politics and not actually -- really discounting the actual strategic interest of the koreas themselves. when they approach this process it isn't just about denuclearization or just about
weapons are sanctions. again, they don't trust the u.s. , they have seen the cycles run, they have seen deals fall apart as far back as the agreed framework that was working that could have been renegotiated at a time with her could have been an impact to as recently as the iran deal. even if it is a multilateral agreement that is proven to be when north korea approaches this process they are looking more for a fdamental chge in the political relationship and that part of denuclearization is no just getting quick rewards. -- security guarantees mean nothing on paper in an agreement until they have had some time to , again, be played out and have a consistent pattern over time and to show that this is a fundamentally different political relationship in order to take those bigger steps of actually dealing with the core
of their backup plan, their nuclear deterrent. i think that when south korea approaches this, moon has five years. we don't know who the next president is going to be. we have all seen how drastically the policy can be. it would be believable for them to believe that what happens in this administration will as well, unless moon starts to work on gaining that political buy-in from the opposition party and south korea, which so far he has spent no time on and has actually tried to sort of silence and it looks like there is greater buy-in than what there is. there are fundamental problems that will make denuclearization even more complicated because north korea also knows the dynamics of this. frank: building on excellent remarks by jenny and got to --
katsu as well. there's a practical problem and a political problem. estimate between five and 15 bers for denuclearization to accomplished in north korea. i think that is more realistic reportc he wrote his knows more than any other person on the planet. years, so theg 15 bolton, libya model is completely unrealistic. hope 40 years, but
trump is counting on three terms after he amend the constitution. moon jae-in is not going to see this through. to embrace a policy that puts them on a path towards denuclearization or reject it because of the timeline that is too long purity given that choice, i think president trump will make the pragmatic choice. a policyng he is not wonk.
trump thinks the wall is ordered mexico.th if he goes to north korea and he will come back and say denuclearization has been accomplished even if they don't have inspectors on the ground yet in congress won't do anything. all of the difficulties of getting the job done are going to remain in front of us. thank goodness for the deep state because we have experts and some really talented civil service who will do some hard the and begin to unravel sanctions. that is the optimistic scenario.
stated the details matter, for example we have to at some point start lifting sanctions. is problem is north korea normal products, so how can we andctively maintain regulate the commodities that to the nucleared program. this is going to be the challenge. good point. if it is ok for everyone, i would like to open the floor for questions.
chris.uestion goes to can you wait until the microphone gets to you? discussion which really helps. i find myself wondering at what point and is at the role of the u.s. or a moon issued to say i cannot do anything with you as long as you say armed unification of the opponents in the -- of the peninsula. is that something that needs to one oftloaded or is that those things you built and more trusts? we get really upset with how the .ran thing is handled
we just have the declaration prior to that, so you can't change that political reality overnight. i think part of the process, ,his will have to be addressed but just to have them on paper is not going to have much meaning. >> i was trained as a military and i think the declaration provides political , butances from north korea will matters is the capabilities
. the good news is, the south is not have the conventional military -- the other good news is they have a strong u.s. ally on the back, so i'm not worried about the north koreans having to disarm from peacemaking. i think its an unrealistic as location. it is going to have to involve china. they will have assurances that give north korea the confidence with the south. i don't think you should worry
north the unification of the south. i think it is already on the table. >> thanks for the panel. i wanted to follow-up as a sanctions experts and ask about the maximum pressure campaign. like maximum pressure is off. now, as a result of this episode, north koreans relations , they are not in the mood for
pushing the sanctions further. first of all, the think the sanctions were being effective? did they have any time set in and also, can you reinvigorate status if this summit doesn't produce? >> in my assessment, i think it , butcouraging north korea i don't think they played a decisive role because of two reasons. when people talk about , there aress different her meters of judgment.
pipe.- there are many loopholes and from there any funds that are diverted. there are so many loopholes -- the amount of water leaked appears to be once the flow levels return to the previous volume, we will have the same problems. , they are connecting or illegal procurement activities. there.e still
is going to be an issue que -- issue. basically for frank. >> you cannot guarantee a post trump error. if you state you need something from congress which would guarantee a continuance in the era.trump error -- i served for 15 years in the senate relations committee and worked with senator brownback to health -- health draft -- to alp draft it and shine
spotlight on north korea's human rights abuses. this -- behink it would inconceivable that a republican-controlled congress would approve any deal that obama would have negotiated. i think with trump in control of the white house, they will set aside those concerns is president trump asked them to. democrat, i can either choose to whine about the unfairness or as an american i
can celebrate the fact that the united states and north korea might be able to put themselves peace.th towards keep our eyesd to on the objective. i cannot predict what this congress will do, but i hope they will see these are not andally exclusive outcomes it is arguably the best way to try to make progress on human rights in north korea. beijing, did not go to he made a strategic opening. that they have
missions there were 30 million in prisons, but he didn't, but i think trump will probably finesse this issue with congress. >> i can't imagine that the north koreans would even ask for a congressional mandate. that is why having a short-term deal is unrealistic because they will want to build in assurances .ver time it is not just about congress, but the administration as well. it is not a congressional decision. who thenot necessarily north koreans would target.
>> it seems the gem amick has changed, but the fundamental question we have to ask what not change. dangerous given their , butferation for one thing the dynamic has changed and we have seen this before will we has -- where we have talks. question for the panel is, do you really believe that kim jong-un broke up when date and slapped his head and now i have
to get rid of this for the future or is he just buying time as we have seen before? you said the good outcome is we do not define denuclearization, but if he is really buying time, is that a good outcome? i don't think so. we go to the meeting and trump says no deal because you guys don't agree to concrete action, so we go back to maximum pressure. is that a bad outcome? people are overlooking some getting thesen in sanctions put in place.
the question drives support for a flawed and important engagement process that will allow north korea to sustain some level of activity four years. expect that trump will be able to negotiate a deal. 95% ofal, they gave up their highly enriched uranium. does anyone think donald trump has negotiated a deal that could? i doubt it. much, so i wish we had a better outcome, but i don't see a good choice. we are choosing among bad choices.
>> there is a second part to kevin's first question. did can wake up one morning -- morning thinking i can trade monday it's for the economic assistance in the peace treaty i want? people phrase it. jenny is shaking her head and i think she is right. the crowd telling me she is different. answer didn't know the to a question, i should say i don't know.
>> i think the problem here is what is the nature of the dialogue or can we tolerate that or not? the question is has the u.s. tried to address the core issues or be in a space where they could give up their nuclear weapons? back to this, we -- buy them off, [no audio] >> we know they are poor, they
have limited access to resources. we assume a lot of things about them and there is probably some truth to it, but in the meantime, they talk about the core issues. it is not just on paper, but it is a broader, political relationship. they want the legitimacy, assurances, sort of normal relations and the question is are we willing to give them that in order to denuclearize and i think that has always been detention with these arguments is that we're not willing to go -- e, but those >> before going back let me get to the last question and then i would go back to our
panelists for their final words. consultantndependent and recent refugee from the state department. my concern is that the trump administration and president trump himself will lose interest in these negotiations if there are not big developments between now and the election in november. if that happens, who is going to continue with this process once the president had let the genie out of the bottle and met with president kim jong un. the second thing is, i don't think the u.s. and china share the same objective of what negotiations with north korea should actually entail. they don't have the same understanding of what the elements of a peaceful nuclear
program in north korea would be. so how do we arrive at that kind of understanding with the chinese? in thell say that, unlikely event president trump removes himself completely from the north korean issue after the summit, we should count ourselves blessed. her second question was about the u.s. and china having different goals when it comes to the negotiations. i think you are right. the u.s. and china do not share the same definition or the same perspective on the future of the korean peninsula. talk about thee denuclearization of the korean peninsula, they are not talking about the denuclearization of north korea percent.
the other question is what is going to happen to the u.s.-south korean military alliance? is that clear? the south koreans have a peace treaty with the united states, so that is one issue. the other issues that we hear a lot about this linkage that china is making, the linkage between broader, u.s. china relations and linkage to what china's position on korea really is. i see that on both sides. a year ago, president trump's position was that, if china cooperates with us on south korea, the trade deal they are going to get is going to be much better. guess what? it's when you're later and it's not much better. koreans there is a strong sense that the chinese delivered on behalf of north korea, but the trade deal, as you can imagine, there is a transactional issue here both sides are avoiding to talk about, that is there. back to you for
whatever the final thoughts are, that you were dying to say today. >> i think i said a lot. we are in a space now where a lot of the media is focused on will he or won't he in terms of the summit itself. i think the bigger question tould be, are we close having this understanding on the substance, rather than just on the pump and circumstance -- the e th d circumstance - pomp and circumstance. and by focusing on the process too much he has a most backed us into a corner. and by raising the expectations and by cozying up to trump and playing to his ego, i think for kim jong-un, it is undermining
the process and making it more difficult to read i think we need to tamp down the expectations on what, if we have a summit, is it going to accomplish. and if we have it, is it because we do have the framework of a deal and the outlines of a deal, not just to have it because it is going to be historic. >> i want to revise my flip answer. what i'm getting at is that this summit has happened from bottom to top, rather than top to bottom. it is absolutely backwards compared to a normal summit. you will have the top leaders meet. normally, you would have had careful preparation all the way up to the top. a filter back down to have all the details worked out, not by trump but by people who are competent to do the job. and with respect to where we are headed, i hope the administration would therefore have the patience necessary to see through the tough work that
is going to be ahead. and i agree very much with what jenny said. the united states, in this situation, we have an opportunity with the most senior person to come to d.c. in 18 years. and that clinton agreement remains to this day, the state of north korean relations between the u.s. and north korea. people to go back and read it, but the joint statement lays out the totality of what north korea is trying to accomplish this round. hope that visit will lead to something comparable, and that is what it think we should be aiming for.
>> since he traveled all the way from japan, i will give you the last word. >> thank you, very much. two points. supposed towas not be the most important national security challenge. the japan's perspective, most significant security challenge lies through china, because china is trying to rewrite the essential rules. we are not supposed to expend so many resources for north korea, as north korea's nuclear and elastic missile capabilities increase. the cost of japan has to invest in upgrading our missile defense system these of these north vis north korea is sucking up our resources to be able to do with these
activities. we have to find a reasonable way maintain north korea's programs, before our focus on -- maintain the focus on north korea's programs, before our focus on china. we need sufficient space to cope with china, but in this regard, imo is concerned about the u.s. government. because to me, the u.s. inernment is always, always line with the ran more than north korea. -- in line with iran more than north korea. in 2015, myself and my colleagues were really happy because of the iran nuclear deal. come of the obama administration will focus on north korea finally. now again, you guys are opening up this iran nuclear deal. [laughter]
and the operational reality on the ground of enforcing sanctions, the resources allocated for iran and the resources allocated for north korea, it is a trade-off relationship. so i hope the u.s. government will continue to pay attention to north korea, so it is not going to be a much bigger problem in the near future. >> thank you. you all noticed the usgis banner. we want to change things up a little bit. they run the crisis simulation about three times a year. they picked up the north korea scenario, and it was interesting listening to these panelists, all of that scenario played out. i can't get into the details, -- played a critical role in shaping the flow and it is
fascinating that all these great questions that were raised in these points that were made by the panelists, they all cannot been when she performed. and it is very interesting, even if everybody the place the game is japanese, the minute you assign them to the teams, within five minutes they assume the personality of the country that they are assigned to. and it is a fascinating thing to see. gs to shareo like ci his thoughts about it and he was the best person to do so because it is north korea. ee often don't get thes technical difficulties and give enough appreciation to that. so thank you, for traveling all the way your it and thank you to all of our talented panelists. i really enjoyed the conversation. i hope you all did, too.
guarantee that we are going to see more simulation. thank you for coming. thank you everyone. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> we take you to the atlantic council for a conversation with air force secretary heather wilson, on strengthening u.s. alliances and repairing the u.s. air force for future batt